Iceland – Trip Highlights

(Presented in chronological order; not all visited sights are included;
3-star rating system)

Gullfoss ★★ (Day 1)

Iceland’s most famous waterfall, is one of the country’s must-see attractions. It was also our favorite sight of the Golden Circle circuit. It is a staircase multi-drop waterfall with multiple vantage points from which to view the falls.

Gullfosss

Seljalandsfoss ★★★ (Day  1)

Probably our favorite waterfall in Iceland because you can walk behind it, which provides you with a truly unique perspective! A picture is worth a thousand words…

Seljalandsfoss

Skógafoss ★ (Day 1)

Powerful waterfalls that you can visit both from the bottom and the top (via a staircase that runs next to the falls). You can walk up close enough to the bottom to be completely drenched. There’s a campground and a hotel right next to it, so it can be busy.

Skógafoss

Drive up to Thakgil (Þakgil) campground ★★ (Day 1)

We already talked quite a bit about this drive above. Although a bit scary at times, the views and vistas were just amazing. The end result was also the most scenic campsite of our entire trip.

Road to Þakgil

Solheimasandur Plane Wreck ★★ (Day 2)

We think people either love or hate this sight. It’s not particularly Icelandic and it’s a long 1hr  walk to get there from the parking lot. Although it’s a long walk on flat terrain leading to the beach that at times seems endless, but if you like planes, wrecks or odd sites, this might be for you. Our appreciation of this activity was no doubt driven by the wonderfully sunny and warm morning we had (18 C) during our walk to the wreck. We were among the first ten cars in the parking lot, so by the time we made it to the plane, we almost had it to ourselves (and we did have it to ourselves for brief period of time).  

Solheimasandur Plane Wreck

Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon & Diamond Beach ★★★ (Day 3)

Unique landscape surrounds this lagoon filled with majestic icebergs that broke off the glacier. Right next to the famous Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon you will find a black volcanic sand beach where icebergs from the lagoon drift ashore and create the most magical setting, the diamond beach.

Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon

Driving along the Eastern fjords ★★ (Day 4)

This is just a lovely coastal drive where you zigzag between the mountains and the sea.

Eastern Coastal Drive

Seyðisfjörður ★ (Day 4)

This was our favorite seaside village in Iceland. Very picturesque and quaint town. Half an hour is more than enough to walk through the main drag, though you could probably walk for hours along the fjord.

Seyðisfjörður

Dettifoss and  Jokulsargljufur canyon ★★

Dettifoss is one of the most impressive and powerful falls in Iceland, emptying into the breathtaking Jokulsargljufur canyon. Dettifoss is the most powerful waterfall in all of Europe. Each second, 193 cubic meters of water rushes through this 100-meter wide and 44-meter tall waterfall. Note that there are two access points to the view the falls, one from the east and one from the west. We chose the east as it offers the best viewpoints, but we had to travel on gravel roads of average quality. The viewpoint to the west is more easily accessible, but you can’t get as close to the falls.

Jokulsargljufur canyon

Hverir/Hverarönd/Námafjall ★★

Close to Myvatn, here you’ll see a large geothermal field consisting of a unique wasteland in which pools of boiling mud, hot springs and hissing chimneys give life to a desolate Mars-like scenery. We unfortunately didn’t get to stay as long as we wanted to here, as it was one of the few times during our trip where the rain was falling pretty hard.

Námafjall

Driving around Troll peninsula ★★ (Day 6)

Another coastal drive with breathtaking landscapes in northern Iceland, just west of Akureyri, with the quaint coastal village of Siglufjörður near the northern tip. We also stopped at Hofsós, which has probably one of the best outdoor public pools (with a view overlooking Skagaströnd) that you’ll ever see.

Road along the Troll peninsula

Snaefellsnes peninsula ★★★

A peninsula like no other, northwest of Reykjavik. Many have dubbed this special place as “mini-Iceland” and we believe that to be a pretty accurate description, as you can find a little bit of everything here. Even though it was one of the rainier periods during our trip to Iceland, we loved every minute spent here. The top three highlights from this area were: Kirkjufellsfoss, the Berserkjahraun lava field, the lovely town of Arnarstapi; though there are many other interesting sights here. You can also do some seal-spotting at Ytri-Tunga, but there weren’t any when we stopped by.

Kirkjufellsfoss

Hraunfossar

Although not as powerful or majestic as other waterfalls we visited, it can be best described as a collection of countless creeks and cascades small and big streaming out of the lava over a distance of about 900 m.

Hraunfossar

Blue Lagoon ★★★ (Day 9)

Many have debated whether the Blue Lagoon is “worth” the steep entry price. Well that is obviously a very personal and subjective decision. We felt the Blue Lagoon was a truly unique experience and we would definitely go again. Yes it’s an expensive activity, but then again it’s not  something you do every weekend. It’s a spa experience like no other, set in a magical backdrop of Icelandic volcanic terrain. We also visited the Nature Baths in Myvatn, but felt that it didn’t match the uniqueness of the Blue Lagoon.

Blue Lagoon

Aurora borealis ★★★

This was not a planned activity; you are at the mercy of mother nature when it comes to the northern lights. We were lucky enough to see the northern lights on two separate occasions. Although it was overcast most nights after sunset, on two occasions we were fortunate to get 10-15 min gaps of clear skies that allowed us to witness this spectacular event.

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